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Shaheen Bagh protest: Plea in Supreme Court seeks removal of protestors

Women shout slogans during a demonstration after an unidentified person opened fire at a site where people were protesting against a new citizenship law in Shaheen Bagh area of New Delhi, India, February 1, 2020. (Reuters)

A plea was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking a direction to the authorities to remove from Shaheen Bagh protestors agitating against CAA since December 15 last year, saying they are causing hardship to people by blocking arterial road connecting Delhi to Noida. Restrictions have been imposed on the Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch and Okhla underpass, which were closed on December 15 last year due to ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizen (NRC).

The plea filed in the top court has sought laying down of comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protests or agitations leading to obstruction of public place. The plea, filed by former Delhi MLA Nand Kishore Garg, said the law enforcement machinery was being “held hostage to the whims and fancies of the protesters” who have blocked vehicular and pedestrian movement from the road connecting Delhi to Noida.

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“It is disappointing that the state machinery is muted and silent spectator at hooliganism and vandalism of the protesters who are threatening the existential efficacy of the democracy and the rule of law and had already taken the law and order situation in their own hand,” said the plea, filed through advocate Shashank Deo Sudhi.

It said the agitation at Shaheen Bagh is undoubtedly within the Constitutional parameter but the whole protest has lost its legality when the protections enshrined under the Constitution are “blatantly and brazenly flouted and violated for the ulterior purpose”. State has the duty to protect fundamental rights of citizen who were continuously being harassed by the blockage of arterial road, it said.

“Hence, it is urgently required that the public places must not be allowed to be abused and misused for ulterior and mala fide purposes such as staging protest against the constitution amendment in the heart of the capital city and thereby causing incalculable hardships and difficulties to the common people,” it said.

It said that a similar plea was filed by another litigant in the Delhi High Court which had directed the local authority to deal with the situation keeping in mind the law and order.

Advocate Amit Sahni, who had approached the high court with a plea seeking directions to the police to ensure smooth traffic flow on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, has already filed an appeal in the apex court against the January 14 order of the high court.

Sahni has filed a special leave petition in the apex court seeking supervision of the situation in Shaheen Bagh, where several women are sitting on protest, by a retired Supreme Court judge or a sitting judge of the Delhi High Court in order to circumvent any violence.

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Source: Financial Express

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